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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-04

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1430), March 4, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens calls for defusion of Kosovo crisis through dialogue
  • [02] ... Albanian president to visit Athens
  • [03] Calls for pressure on Ankara, Denktash over Cyprus' EU accession
  • [04] ... Ecevit provocations
  • [05] ... Brussels conference
  • [06] Van den Broek-Kranidiotis meeting focuses on Cyprus' accession
  • [07] FYROM delegation in Athens
  • [08] Major NATO exercise in North Atlantic, Iberian Peninsula
  • [09] US Congressional committee critical of Turkey's human rights
  • [10] Kaklamanis meets with Algerian ambassador
  • [11] Amnesty Int'l event on ratification of Declaration of Human Rights
  • [12] Karamanlis rejects notion that ND is drifting more to the right
  • [13] KYSEA announces decisions for top military posts
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos represents PASOK at Eurosocialists meeting
  • [15] Athens municipality to refund parking fines
  • [16] Serapheim's condition improving
  • [17] Anastasios meets with Patriarch Petros in Alexandria
  • [18] Local residents block work on radar installation
  • [19] Kavala's archaeological museum to be upgraded
  • [20] Church sends help to Romanian needy
  • [21] Demirel message
  • [22] Minister: Athens air pollution shows decline
  • [23] New center to combat tuberculosis, meningitis
  • [24] Higher rate of digitalized phone network requested by gov't
  • [25] One in four Greeks overweight, experts say
  • [26] Greece announces banks taking part in bond loan
  • [27] Greeks to receive state pensions via banks
  • [28] Greek stocks jump on angst-free money market
  • [29] Greece hopes for more Italian tourists
  • [30] EU urges Greece to improve food control
  • [31] Presidential decree aims to limit scams targeting FEOGA financing
  • [32] Tourism company of Crete established

  • [01] Athens calls for defusion of Kosovo crisis through dialogue

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday called for a solution to the Kosovo crisis through dialogue which respected the rights of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians and secured the unity and sovereignty of Yugoslavia.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas, expressing the government's concern at the recent violence in Kosovo, said that apart from Prime Minister Costas Simitis' telephone conversations with his Albanian counterpart Fatos Nano on the issue, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis had a meeting yesterday with the Yugoslav embassy's charge d'affaires. Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' visit to Belgrade at the end of this week would also be a good opportunity for a discussion and finding a solution to the problem, said Mr. Reppas, adding that Greece was ready to offer its good services.

    The spokesman was non-committal on reports that a meeting on Kosovo was being planned for the end of March, to take place in Athens. Mr. Reppas simply said in response to questions that many initiatives were under way but that it was premature to speak of scheduled meetings between the region's leaders.

    Mr. Pangalos is also to visit Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, Mr. Reppas added.

    On their part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) and the Political Spring party expressed concern yesterday over developments in the volatile Kosovo region, stressing the need for initiatives to be undertaken to overcome the crisis.

    In a statement to a private radio station, KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga said Kosovo is an open wound gathering pus, adding that it is intensified by competition between the United States and the European Union for the region.

    She urged initiatives by the peoples, or initiatives by politicians who are not under the influence and submission of the major powers struggling against each other in the region.

    In an announcement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party deplored what it called the violent quelling of demonstrations of the Albanian population by the mostly Serb police forces, as well as extreme actions by secessionist Albanian elements. Synaspismos expressed support for the return of autonomy to Kosovo with a settlement based on respect for existing international borders and the exclusion of secessionist solutions and destabilizing tensions.

    DHKKI called on the government to immediately begin peace initiatives not guided by the major powers, in order to avoid possible negative results.

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras said the only just solution lies with Kosovo remaining under the control of Yugoslavia, but with educational rights being granted to the Albanian community in the region.

    [02] ... Albanian president to visit Athens

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani arrives in Athens next Monday for a three-day visit, at the invitation of Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    In preparation for his visit, Mr. Mejdani on Sunday visited villages with sizable Greek ethnic minorities in southern Albania, accompanied by deputy premier Bashkim Fino, interior minister Neritan Ceka and transport and public works minister Gaqo Apostoli.

    In Gjirokaster, Mr. Mejdani was briefed by the town mayor on the new conditions in the area a year after the collapse of pyramid investment schemes plunged the country into turmoil and toppled the Sali Berisha government.

    Mr. Mejdani said after the meeting that "in a situation such as that faced by Albania today, we need to raise the stature of a society of the citizens, (which would be) the result of co-operation among the intellectuals, religious communities and non-governmental organizations".

    Turning to Greece's role in the Albanian south, the president called on the Greek government, "through the General Consulate in Gjirokaster, to contribute to the economic upgrading of the region".

    He also called for foreign investments in Albania, adding that "political guarantees" existed for foreign investors active in the country.

    Turning to the renewed tension in Serbia's overwhelmingly Albanian-speaking Kosovo province and clashes on Monday in which 16 Albanians and 4 Serb policemen were killed, Mr. Mejdani said that "the old mentality of clash, intolerance and hatred" continue d to prevail in the Balkans, adding that the "Albanian population" was paying the price.

    He reiterated an appeal to the UN Secretary-General for the dispatch of a permanent force to the region, and for implementation of the Rugova-Milosevic agreement, as the first step towards the commencement of dialogue.

    [03] Calls for pressure on Ankara, Denktash over Cyprus' EU accession

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece requires the more forceful intervention of the European Union in pressuring Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash towards developments, ahead of the beginning of accession procedures for Cyprus' accession to the EU, the government said yesterday.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas was commenting on recent statements by Mr. Denktash and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, both of whom called for recognition of the Turkish-occupied northern third of Cyprus.

    Mr. Reppas condemned both politicians for "reiterating their demands and subverting the framework set for the resolution of the Cypriot problem by the international bodies."

    Turkey's behavior towards these bodies is a provocation both to the bodies themselves and to international public opinion as a whole, Mr. Reppas said.

    On its part, the main opposition New Democracy party said that the Denktash and Ecevit statements point to the "shame" of the international community over the fact that the Cyprus problem is still waiting for a solution based on UN resolutions and decisions, which Ankara systematically disregards and violates.

    [04] ... Ecevit provocations

    Istanbul, 04/03/1998 (ANA- A. Kourkoulas)

    The European Union cannot protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots, Mr. Ecevit told a group of Turkish Cypriot reporters.

    "Some (Turkish Cypriots) think it might be better to join the EU. They must learn that the EU is not a guarantee, some rights may not be granted. We must not forget the situation of the "Turks" in western Thrace," he said.

    Mr. Ecevit also said that "no Turkish government can make concessions on the Cyprus issue," and that Turkey is not thinking of withdrawing its forces from the northern part of the island.

    [05] ... Brussels conference

    Brussels, 04/03/1998 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)

    Meanwhile, the Green group in the European Parliament organized a two-day round-table meeting on Monday and yesterday on the Cyprus issue, with the participation of politicians from both sides of the island's divide, experts and journalists.

    Greece and Turkey were represented by professors Christos Rozakis and Mumtal Soyzal, who have both held ministerial posts in their respective countries' foreign ministries.

    Mr. Soyzal claimed that the Cyprus problem has its roots in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, where the issue of political balance between the two communities was first raised. He fully justified the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, and said the Turkish Cypriots were right in not trusting the UN, since it refused to recognize their 'state'.

    Mr. Rozakis said the present status quo in Cyprus was in contradiction to the basic principles of the UN, and this was the reason why the organization refused to recognize the northern part as a separate state.

    "In recent years the UN has recognized many new states which emerged as a result of the collapse of the eastern bloc, but not the self-styled 'Turkish republic of northern Cyprus' because its creation was the result of the use of armed military violence by the Turkish army, in violation of both UN resolutions and the basic principles of international law on the peaceful co-existence of nations," he said in response to his Turkish colleague.

    "The Turkish invasion of Cyprus was effectively a procedure of ethnic cleansing and a refutation of the multi-cultural and pluralistic model of society," he added.

    Turkish Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Turkish Republican Party, supported the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the EU-Cyprus accession negotiations, scheduled to start on March 31.

    [06] Van den Broek-Kranidiotis meeting focuses on Cyprus' accession

    Brussels, 04/03/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis held a meeting here last night with Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

    The meeting came a few days after a five-day visit Mr. Kranidiotis paid to Cyprus and in light of today's visit to the island republic by Mr. van den Broek, where he will be accompanied, according to reports, by Britain's envoy to Cyprus Sir David Hannay.

    In a statement after meeting with Mr. Kranidiotis, Mr. van den Broek said the refusal of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to see him was regrettable and expressed the hope he will change his position soon.

    He said that with Mr. Kranidiotis he also discussed the issue of the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the negotiating delegation of Cyprus. He will also discuss the issue with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    He further said that he will discuss the issue of a resumption of inter-communal talks with Mr. Clerides.

    Replying to a question on whether the issue of the Turkish Cypriots' participation could jeopardize the start to accession negotiations with Cyprus on March 31, Mr. van den Broek said it will be seen what will be done by then.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said he briefed Mr. van den Broek on Greek positions and on his discussions in Cyprus. He added that he briefed him on Greece's reservations over all the plans of the British EU presidency on the opening positions of the "15" at the start to the EU's enlargement process on March 30-31.

    The proposals of the EU presidency on the opening position of the "15" regarding Cyprus do not satisfy Greece and at present a compromise formula is being sought in the framework of the "15". It is believed on the part of Greece there is considerable ground for a compromise to be found by March 30. This view is shared, according to diplomatic sources, by the British presidency.

    [07] FYROM delegation in Athens

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    A government delegation from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is expected in Athens tomorrow for talks on bilateral issues and talks on developments in the Balkans, a foreign ministry announcement stated yesterday. The FYROM delegation, headed by Foreign Under-secretary Ognuen Malevski, visited Athens following a similar visit by Greek officials to Skopje in February 1996. Greece opposes the use of the name 'Macedonia' by the landlocked republic, arguing it conceals expansionist designs against its historic northern province of Macedonia.

    The two countries signed an interim agreement in September 1995 providing for the normalization of bilateral relations, while the issue of the former Yugoslav republic's name is still the object of bilateral discussions under United Nations auspices.

    [08] Major NATO exercise in North Atlantic, Iberian Peninsula

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    The NATO alliance's largest exercise of the year, code-named "Strong Resolve '98" will take place in the North Atlantic and the Iberian Peninsula between March 9-21.

    All NATO member-states will participate in this massive military exercise, while seven countries observing NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative will also participate for the first time, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Lithuania, Rom-ania, Slovakia and Sweden.

    The exercise is aimed at testing NATO's ability to tackle two crises developing in two different geographic regions at the same time.

    Greece will participate in the exercise in the Iberian Peninsula with the frigate "Spetsai", four F-16 aircraft, as well as with a number of officers for the staff of the joint combined force.

    [09] US Congressional committee critical of Turkey's human rights

    Washington, 04/03/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    A US Congressional Committee on Security and Co-operation in Europe yesterday released a letter on the subject of human rights to Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, which also contains a call for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, in the context of commitments undertaken by Turkey towards the OSCE.

    The letter, dated Feb. 24, and signed by members of the committee which recently visited Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, is highly critical of Turkey for its continued violation of human rights, despite Mr. Yilmaz's assurances that he intended to change the current situation.

    [10] Kaklamanis meets with Algerian ambassador

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday received Algerian ambassador to Athens Kamel Houhou, expressing Greece's concern for the return of order and peace to the North African country. Mr. Kaklamanis told Mr. Houhou that the sooner Algeria exits the current turmoil it faces, allowing democracy to function without the fear of religious 'fundamentalism,' the sooner Europe will change its attitude" toward the country.

    Mr. Houhou said that the decision of his government and the Algerian people is to end terrorism within the framework of law and democratic procedures.

    [11] Amnesty Int'l event on ratification of Declaration of Human Rights

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday inaugurated an Amnesty International (AI) campaign in Greece commemorating the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The event at the presidential mansion was also attended, among others, by the Prime Minister Costas Simitis, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and other political leaders.

    In his address, the president said the existence of democratic rights was not a guarantee of human rights.

    "There are states which are not democratic, and there are states which despite having secured an electoral process as a means for the expression of popular sovereignty have no respect for human rights whatsoever.

    "There are also states which are really democratic, which are only interested in human rights domestically, and are indifferent to what goes on around them. They may be interested more in the free flow of oil or other serious matters," he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed his satisfaction with the fact that "in Greece, we can be easily compared to any other civilized nation in Europe with respect to human rights, without this meaning that we have reached ideal situations".

    [12] Karamanlis rejects notion that ND is drifting more to the right

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday dismissed the notion that ND was increasingly moving to the right, stressing that it has carved an unwavering course in the middle of the political spectrum, guided by a progressive economic credo and with a high degree of social sensitivity.

    He said the state should provide incentives to citizens to promote creativity, and stand by them when they face problems.

    Mr. Karamanlis on Monday will chair a session of the party's Parliamentary group regarding the method of selection for the candidates the party will support in municipal and prefectural elections later in the year.

    Sources said that former prime minister Costantine Mitsotakis is likely to attend the session, one day after delivering a speech at the Propeller Club in Thessaloniki, Mr. Karamanlis' constituency. The party is to elect new chairpersons of prefectural committees over the weekend.

    [13] KYSEA announces decisions for top military posts

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) convened yesterday to decide on the promotions of the nation's high-ranking military officers.

    Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis was re-appointed as the National Defense General Staff Chief; Lt. Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis was re-appointed Army General Staff Chief; Rear Adm. Georgios Ioannidis was appointed Navy General Staff Chief and Lt. Gen. Georgios Antonetsis was re-appointed Air Force General Staff Chief.

    Rear Adm. Nikolaos Katsaros was appointed fleet commander.

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos represents PASOK at Eurosocialists meeting

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's socialists will be represented at the European Socialist Party summit in Brussels today by National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the party's vice-president, and Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis in his capacity as deputy secretary of PASOK's international relations department.

    The agenda for today's meeting includes preparations for the party's conference in early 1999, the drafting of its platform for the European Parliament elections in June 1999 as well as its positions regarding the enlargement of the European Union.

    [15] Athens municipality to refund parking fines

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos yesterday announced that the municipality will refund by mail all parking fines that were assessed by and paid to private parking control companies.

    The announcement came after the Council of State (CoS) ruled that it is unconstitutional for municipalities to contract out parking control and collection of parking fines.

    According to Mr. Avramopoulos the city will refund a total of about 350 million drachmas and will then demand that the firm owned by Demetris Kokkinakis, which was on contract by Athens, refund to the municipality its fees, amounting to 36 per cent of the fines collected - about 126 million drachmas.

    On his part, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Under-secretary Lambros Papadimas accused Mr. Avramopoulos of leading the municipality to a judicial and an economic ordeal.

    He added that after the publication of the CoS's decision, which is expected within the next 10 to 15 days, the ministry will begin a dialogue with the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE), of which Mr. Avramopoulos is president , on redefining the preconditions of ceding responsibilities to private firms or individuals.

    Mr. Papadimas said "the Council of State did very well in this case, (but) it will be tragic to think that this will put on the brakes to other healthy activities of OTAs (Local government organizations)."

    In answering Mr. Papadimas' statements, Mr. Avramopoulos said that the under-secretary should have been better informed, and that he should not take part in political pre-election games.

    Mr. Avramopoulos added that all this could have been averted had the ministry of interior given a clear picture and a definite legal framework of responsibilities to municipalities.

    He also said that the municipality followed a law voted by a PASOK government in 1994, allowing the awarding of parking control to private companies, while Mr. Papadimas used that law when he was mayor of Lamia.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress deputy and mayoral candidate Maria Damanaki as well as the leader of the municipal council's opposition, Yiannis Angelakis, accused Mr. Avramopoulos of "behaving like an emperor."

    Ms Damanaki claimed Mr. Avramopoulos also went through with the contract although he knew that the decision to directly award the contract without a 2/3 city council majority was illegal.

    In reply, deputy mayor Angelos Moshonas accused Ms Damanaki of hiding behind her Parliamentary immunity for what he called a "slander campaign" against the Athens mayor and called her to resign as a deputy.

    Mr. Moshonas added that parking control will operate again, before October's municipal elections, this time under the auspices of the municipal police.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said that his ministry's concern is the determining of parking control areas.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said traffic control responsibilities can be exercised by municipal or private firms under certain conditions, which were not adhered to by Athens.

    [16] Serapheim's condition improving

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop Serapheim of Athens and All Greece, hospitalized last week with a viral infection and respiratory problems, was marking a "slow but steady improvement" and was "responding to treatment", a medical bulletin said yesterday.

    The bulletin issued by the Laiko Hospital in Athens, where Serapheim has been hospitalized since last Tuesday, said that although the Archbishop's condition had "improved remarkably" since Saturday, the "damage caused by the infection have not been fully restored" and the possibility of "some complication arising cannot be ruled out".

    It said the Archbishop, a long-time kidney sufferer, would undergo "scheduled dialysis treatment" today, adding that it was not possible at present to anticipate when the Archbishop could be released from hospital.

    [17] Anastasios meets with Patriarch Petros in Alexandria

    Alexandria, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios concluded an official visit here yesterday, holding talks with the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros on various denominational and ecclesiastical issues.

    Both men stressed their desire and will for co-operation between the two Churches and confirmed the duty of developing and strengthening inter-Orthodox unity.

    Archbishop Anastasios left Alexandria for Tirana yesterday morning.

    [18] Local residents block work on radar installation

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Residents of Perea and four other communities neighboring Thessaloniki's Macedonia airport yesterday blocked bulldozers that had moved in to begin work on the construction of a new radar system for the airport.

    The residents are citing concerns over the possible effects of radiation emitted by the radar equipment.

    The leaders of the five communities have been called to appear before the Thessaloniki prosecutor today along with representatives of the civil aviation service in order to find a solution to the problem.

    Perea has already appealed to the Council of State, proposing an alternative radio-link between the airport control tower and the Hortiati military radar station, adding that the municipality would meet the costs.

    The Civil Aviation Service, however, has refused to discuss any alternative. Its deputy director George Souladakis told the ANA the installation of the radar must go ahead at all costs.

    [19] Kavala's archaeological museum to be upgraded

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Kavala's archaeological museum is being significantly upgraded to be able to exhibit rare collections found at excavations in the last 50 years.

    The new collections date from the pre-history and classical civilizations in the northeast of Greece.

    The new works involve a general upgrade for the museum, its installations and a revamping of the museum's exhibition spaces.

    "Kavala's new museum has begun. The building is already being extended. At this stage we are working on a special cultural events hall which will house occasional exhibitions and will give new impetus to reaching out to the public beyond the strict boundaries of a museum," the head of the classical and pre-history antiquities section in Kavala, Haido Koukoulis-Chyrsanthankis said.

    The new wing of the museum will be ready by the end of 1999 and along with the other projects, will cost a total o 1.3 billion drachmas.

    The second stage of works foresees the construction of laboratories and storage areas in the museum, which will handle artifacts from all museums in the eastern Macedonia and Thrace region.

    The increasing importance of the Kavala Museum will also entail a corresponding increase in specialized personnel - archaeologists, restorers, lab assistants and experts and guards.

    [20] Church sends help to Romanian needy

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Orthodox Church has dispatched 15,000 tons of oranges urgently needed by children, the elderly and impoverished families in Romania.

    A spokesperson for the Romanian Orthodox Church, which represents 90 percent of the 23 million-strong population of Romania, told the ANA it would oversee the distribution of the oranges to institutions housing children and elderly and to poor families.

    The spokesperson said that, according to official statistics, more than 50 percent of Romanians live below the poverty level.

    [21] Demirel message

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel addressed a message to President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday during his flight towards Spain.

    In his message, Mr. Demirel expressed his best wishes for the health and happiness of President Stephanopoulos and the prosperity of the Greek people.

    [22] Minister: Athens air pollution shows decline

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Air pollution in Athens has significantly decreased over the last three years as a result of the program "Anti-pollution Attica SOS" which is aimed at reducing the city's air pollution by 30% before 2004 when Greece is to stage the Olympic Games, Environment Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday.

    Mr. Laliotis added that at no time during 1997 had there been a need to impose a ban on cars within the city center, usual when pollution levels are high.

    The reductions ranged from 8.1 percent for emissions of carbon monoxide to 40.5 percent for emissions of sulfur dioxide.

    A seven-billion drachma program will be under way over the next two years to increase the number of mobile units monitoring pollution levels around the city and to form a special unit to enforce environmental regulations in industries. According to figures presented by Mr. Laliotis, in 1997 nearly half the 2,401,410 vehicles circulating in Greece had catalytic converters, only 10 percent of these were outside areas of high pollution.

    Forty-eight percent of all vehicles circulate in Athens.

    The ministry has included various projects aimed at reducing air pollution in the second Community Support Framework with a budget of 15 billion drachmas, scheduled for completion within 1999.

    [23] New center to combat tuberculosis, meningitis

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Tuberculosis and meningitis - both diseases long thought to be under control - are making a reappearance in Greece, experts said yesterday. Thirty-five cases of a new form of meningitis have been recorded since the beginning of the year, three of them fatal. The increase is attributed in part to a new, contagious strain of meningitis - the inflammation of the meninges, particularly as a result of infection from bacteria or viruses - dubbed 'C'.

    Recent studies on 2,000 migrants to Greece have also shown an increased incidence of tuberculosis compared to the general population. Some 1,000 cases of tuberculosis were officially recorded last year but experts say that the real figure is more likely closer to 3,000. The figures were announced at a news conference on the establishment of a central epidemiological center which will monitor and study the incidence of communicable diseases.

    The center hopes to act as a central body for the documentation of diseases such as meningitis, tuberculosis and Hepatitis A.

    Officially called the Center for Epidemiological Supervision and Intervention, the center aims to detect new strains of disease in their infancy and take timely action to prevent their spreading.

    Experts said that they were already predicting a new outbreak of measles but said they were not making the announcement to cause panic but to inform physicians of the need to take preventive action. The center will have a nationwide brief and have at its disposal a mobile laboratory which will be able to set up and conduct on-the-spot pathology tests. Its brief will extend to testing of foodstuffs considered to be a public health hazard.

    [24] Higher rate of digitalized phone network requested by gov't

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis yesterday asked the board and employees of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) to speed up the conversion of its phone network to digital technology, with a target of 70 per cent by the end of the year, up from 47 per cent today.

    He also said the state-run utility will triple its telecoms investments in 1998, expected to reach 350 billion drachmas.

    Further, he announced that the harmonization of telecommunication regulations, that have been delayed, must be completed by May, while in the same month a new draft law on telecommunications will be tabled, also covering the electronic media sector.

    [25] One in four Greeks overweight, experts say

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    One in four Greeks are considered to be overweight and up to 40 percent Greeks want to lose weight, according to a news conference yesterday on the occasion of the Greek Medical Society on Obesity's conference in Thessaloniki next week.

    Experts said obesity was an illness which increased morbidity and decreased life span and was rarely treated as a whole, leading sufferers open to exploitation.

    Fad diets and short-term miracle weight-loss programs without the appropriate psychological support, they said, exacerbated problems and side-effects such as heart disease, respiratory difficulties and psychological problems.

    The Thessaloniki conference will be open to the public for the first time to allow society to participate and be briefed on the latest developments in the area.

    [26] Greece announces banks taking part in bond loan

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday named the banks that will handle a seven-billion dollar bond loan arranged for Greece in the US. The 17 banks are as follows: Lead Managers

    * Lehman Brothers, J.P. Morgan Managers US

    * Credit Suisse-First Boston, Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Citibank Europe

    * Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, SBC Warburg , Dresdner, National Bank of Greece Japan

    * Daiwa, Nomura, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi

    [27] Greeks to receive state pensions via banks

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greeks will receive their state pensions through direct bank deposits from June 24, Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

    Most pensioners currently receive their monthly payments in cash delivered by postmen, who have become a target for thieves.

    Banks belonging to the Dias computerized system of payments will take part in the new scheme along with the Post Office Savings Fund and state Loans and Deposits Fund.

    [28] Greek stocks jump on angst-free money market

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply higher in the first trading session of the week yesterday, helped by stable conditions in the domestic money market and healthy 1997 corporate results.

    The general index closed 1.86 percent higher at 1,445.65 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

    Banks rose 1.88 percent, Insurance increased 1.48 percent, Industrials jumped 2.60 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.75 percent higher and Holding was 1.58 percent up. Leasing fell 2.03 percent, Investment plunged 4.29 percent and Construction eased 0.40 percent.

    The parallel market index rose 0.53 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index soared 2.23 percent.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 16.1 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 120 to 95 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Benroubi, Greek Aluminium, Hellas Can, Alco and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit. Technodomi, Parnassos and Alpha Invest suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,790 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,845, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,650, Delta Dairy at 2,900, Titan Cement at 13,900, Intracom at 14,545 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,850.

    [29] Greece hopes for more Italian tourists

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's participation in BIT 1998, an international tourism trade fair held each year in Milan, may spur interest in the country as a venue for Italian holidaymakers.

    Greek National Tourism Organization Secretary-General Nikos Skoulas yesterday met industry representatives including the chairman of Italy's federation of tourism agencies, Alessandro de Scalchi.

    Mr. Skoulas presented Greece's new tourism policy, which aims to promote theme travel and extend the tourist season to 12 months.

    [30] EU urges Greece to improve food control

    Brussels, 04/03/1998 (ANA/P. Pantelis)

    A European Union committee urged Greece to improve coordination and communication among regulatory authorities in order to develop a more efficient system of food control.

    The EU has adopted legislation providing the European Commission with the power to monitor food-control systems in the 15 member states.

    The committee is conducting annual visits to EU member-states in order to evaluate progress.

    [31] Presidential decree aims to limit scams targeting FEOGA financing

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    A presidential decree providing for measures against untrustworthy businesspeople financed through the European Agricultural Fund (FEOGA) is about to be signed by three ministers.

    According to the legislation, which harmonizes national with EU legislation, Union member-states are obliged to adopt appropriate preventative measures against untrustworthy businesspeople as well as to place them on a black list for the EU Commission. The list is then available for other member-states.

    [32] Tourism company of Crete established

    Athens, 04/03/1998 (ANA)

    A charter for the creation of a tourism company of Crete was signed in Rethimno yesterday in the presence of Greek Tourism Organization (EOT) Secretary General Nikos Skoulas.

    In a statement, Mr. Skoulas said that harmonious co-operation between agencies on the island can be an example worth duplicating in other areas in the country.

    End of English language section.


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